Shenyang FC-31 / J-31 Fighter Demonstrator


Inst

Senior Member
Very interesting. Four variants should make for a decently sized production run at the very least.
That's probably what they're thinking. It makes little sense for the PLAAF to get a lot of FC-31s, since the FC-31s are going to be expensive and won't deliver the same capability as the J-20s. However, if Shenyang scores the PLANAF procurement, they have a guarantee of maybe 50-100 FC-31s. An EW / strike variant might also see carrier use, and an export variant means more orders.

Shenyang, remember, does not want to go out of existence, and the PLA doesn't benefit from a Chengdu monopoly on Chinese fighters. While the PLAAF might not be able to sustain Shenyang, a combination of the PLAAF, PLANAF, and export markets might.
 

Bltizo

Lieutenant General
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I don't think we have any basis yet to definitively say whether a fully developed J-XY would be of similar cost or cheaper than J-20.

This discussion has been had before in previous pages, and being powered by a single engine alone does not a more affordable aircraft make, especially in context of current and foreseeable future capacity of the Chinese aerospace industry.


The position I held, and I continue to hold, is that it is true in general principle that a single engine fighter of a given weight class would offer lower operating costs than a twin engine fighter of the same weight class, assuming we can hold all else equal.


But for the PLA, a "single engine medium weight 5th gen" versus a "twin engine medium weight 5th gen" is more complex than that, and not everything is held equal.
Things like development time, reduced costs in terms of commonality of systems and upgrades (given the PLAN will be procuring J-XY itself, and any "twin engine medium weight 5th gen" would be a land based derivative of J-XY), engine availability (how available would WS-15 be if it was asked to fulfill both J-20 production and a single engine medium weight 5th gen fighter), as well as distribution of aerospace resources.



This topic of "would a J-XY be a viable aircraft as a more affordable 5th generation aircraft relative to J-20" has been had before in some detail here in the past:

If anyone wants to continue this particular strain of discussion, move it to that thread please
 

Lethe

Senior Member
It's not unheard of though. Afterall PLAAF have Su-30MKK and J-11BS while PLANAF have Su-30MK2 and J-11BSH. It might be a similar case here.

To the extent practicable, PLANAF should be transitioning to mostly carrier-based aviation. Even if there are land-based squadrons, the aircraft themselves should be carrier capable. The additional flexibility would greatly outweigh the minor performance advantage of a land-based variant.
 

dankris

Junior Member
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To the extent practicable, PLANAF should be transitioning to mostly carrier-based aviation. Even if there are land-based squadrons, the aircraft themselves should be carrier capable. The additional flexibility would greatly outweigh the minor performance advantage of a land-based variant.
Indeed. Additionally, the larger numbers tends to decrease unit procurement cost and commonality in maintenance is also a good thing.

We also have examples of countries that bought carrier capable jet while having no carrier of their own (F/A-18 being a prime example). Assuming the performance difference between land and CV capable variant are not that significant, surely PLANAF would take the CV capable one if they need any J-XY, right?
 

daifo

Junior Member
Registered Member
The original FC-31 was a non-naval export prototype so it kinda make sense to have a FC/J-31 PLAAF and a Export FC/J-31 with downgraded tech. Enhance wings, structural hardening, landing gears, tail hooks , carrier avionics, sea proofing may add up to many millions per a plane.
 

Atomicfrog

Junior Member
Registered Member
The original FC-31 was a non-naval export prototype so it kinda make sense to have a FC/J-31 PLAAF and a Export FC/J-31 with downgraded tech. Enhance wings, structural hardening, landing gears, tail hooks , carrier avionics, sea proofing may add up to many millions per a plane.
It can save a lot of weight. For example,, Northrop have proposed non-naval f18 variants, they where saving more than a tons of empty weight for their F/a-18L and increased the payload and g limits with non folding wings and simplified landing gears. They offered also a land based simplified air superiority variant, saving 3 tons of weight with reduced parts tickness and non folding wings.
 

gelgoog

Captain
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The Rafale M is used in a 42500 tons carrier and it does not have folding wings at all.
Just saying there are more options. We don't know what they will use in the J-XY.
 

Bltizo

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The Rafale M is used in a 42500 tons carrier and it does not have folding wings at all.
Just saying there are more options. We don't know what they will use in the J-XY.

J-XY for the carrier based variant will almost certainly will have folding wings.

Rafale M is an outlier in that regard, partly as a reflection of its relatively smaller wingspan given its configuration of being more of a delta wing than J-XY is expected to be, but its lack of folding wings has proven to be a detriment for other carriers outside of CdG where folding wings could have allowed it to be stationed elsewhere, namely India's Vikrant carrier.

It would be a remarkably stupid decision to pursue a carrier based J-XY without folding wings.


Any difference between a carrier based J-XY and land based J-XY would likely only be the presence or lack of folding wings, catapult mode gear, reinforced landing gear and tailhook.

I expect virtually everything else to be the same.
 

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